Picks and Pans Review: Life'll Kill Ya
He may count soft-rock pioneers like the Eagles and Jackson Browne among his comrades, but veteran L.A. singer-songwriter Warren Zevon is anything but laid-back. He once wrote a song called "Excitable Boy," and even though he is now 53, the moniker still fits. On his new album, for example, he covers Steve Winwood's hit "Back in the High Life Again," but delivered in his craggy, doleful baritone, it sounds like an alcoholic's lament (the now-sober Zevon was a notorious boozer) instead of the beer commercial it once was. Elsewhere, accompanying himself on piano and guitar, Zevon sings tunes with self-explanatory names like "I Was in the House When the House Burned Down" and "Dirty Little Religion." There is something redemptive about Zevon's grumpy, mordant view of the world. He may not be able to hit the high notes, but his songs are clever, burnished gems. Besides, you can't deny the truth of the title song.
Bottom Line: Creaky rocker refuses to stop making noise